Maharashtra: Senior forest officer held for abetting suicide of his colleague
Amravati police on Friday arrested the deputy conservator of police (DyCF) Vinod Shivkumar for abetting the suicide of a Melghat Tiger Reserve forest range officer.
The 32-year-old deceased was posted at Harisal under the Gugamal division of Melghat Tiger Reserve. She allegedly shot herself with the service revolver at her government residence on Thursday.
The Amravati police arrested Shivkumar from Nagpur railway station from where he was trying to board a train to Bengaluru. He has been booked under section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code).
Initial investigations revealed that the deceased was disturbed by the harassment meted out by her seniors including Shivakumar. Before taking the extreme step, she left a suicide note, in which, she made serious allegations against Shivkumar.
According to the sources, the RFO was alone in her quarters when she ended her life. Her mother had left for Satara and her husband Rajesh was in Chikhaldara, where he works on deputation with the treasury department.
While levelling allegations against Shivkumar, she mentioned that he used to abuse her in front of juniors, villagers and labourers without any valid reason. Moreover, the DyCF often used to call her to meet late at night and made indecent proposals. She had even complained against the DyCF to the Melghat Tiger Reserve field director M Srinivas Reddy and sought his intervention.
After her mother left, she called her husband and told him about her decision to end her life. But before her husband could act, she died by suicide.
She was rushed to Harisal Primary Health Centre, from where she was shifted to Dharni but was declared dead on arrival.
Amravati district superintendent of police Hari Balaji said that the deceased has blamed the DyCF for taking the extreme step.
Her colleagues said that the 32-year-old RFO was known as ‘Melghat’s Singham’, and given her daredevilry, no one believed she could take such an extreme step. She performed her duties fearlessly especially when it came to nabbing wildlife criminals and poachers.
Several villagers and forest employees, particularly activists of Maharashtra Forest Rangers Association, on Friday staged a day-long dharna before the office of Melghat Tiger Reserve and demanded stern action against DyCF.
Meanwhile, the Dy CF, Shivkumar was suspended from the post while the Field Director of the Melghat Tiger Project was shunted out from the post for not initiating any action on the victim’s complaint.